Sunday, May 7, 2017

iPhone 8 Rumors: screen, Touch ID, and Augmented Reality

It’s iPhone rumor season, and leaks have been coming out of the woodwork the past couple weeks. Apple is highly thought to be releasing two iPhone models this year–an iPhone 7S, with modest upgrades from the iPhone 7, and a special iPhone 8 to commemorate the iPhone’s 10th year anniversary.

Aside from an upgraded processor (A11), more memory, and better battery life, here’s a breakdown of a few more exciting features the current leaks are pointing to for the iPhone 8.

Edge-To-Edge OLED Screen

Since its inception, Apple has used traditional LED screens for the iPhone, and have been pushing this technology to its limit with every release. The next logical step would be a form of OLED screen (Organic LED). The really cool thing about OLED, aside from being brighter and having arguably better color is the fact that when the phone needs to display black, it simply turns off pixels individually. This results in greater battery life and functionality. For instance, Motorola has been using this on their phones since 2013 to show certain things on a phone’s lock screen (time, notifications, etc.) without actually turning on the entire screen.

The writing has been on the wall for this move since Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer had this to say in a 2015 interview with Ian Parker:

[Jony] picked up his iPhone 6 and pressed the home button. “The whole of the display comes on,” he said. “That, to me, feels very, very old.” (The iPhone 6 reached stores two weeks later.) He went on to explain that an Apple Watch uses a new display technology whose blacks are blacker than those in an iPhone’s L.E.D. display.

As the above quote illustrates, Apple is known for introducing new technology on one device, then advancing it throughout their product line where it makes sense. They have done this recently with Force Touch on the Watch moving to the MacBook Force Touch Trackpad, followed by the iPhone 6s adopting it in the form of 3D Touch.

The screen is also rumored to go edge-to-edge in a sense, as illustrated by this render based on recent leaks. This looks really fantastic, and would reduce the large bezels (by comparison to other phones) by a huge factor. I would love for the iPhone 8 to look like this.

Touch ID

Perhaps the hottest item of contention is the placement of Touch ID (fingerprint reader) on the iPhone 8. Recent leaks suggest two options:

Under the screen

Implementing Touch ID under the screen would be quite a feat, as no other manufacturer has been able to do this yet. When needing your fingerprint, the iPhone could theoretically identify a specific part of the screen for you to present your finder for scanning. Word is Apple is struggling with perfecting this, resulting in a backup option I’ll speak to next.

On the rear of the phone

Like the Google Pixel and Samsung S8, leaked schematics seem to point to this as a backup option to having the reader under the screen. This would facilitate still keeping an edge-to-edge display. Many Android phones have this, and from their experiences, it can be polarizing. The main problem with having it on the back of the device is the fact that it makes the phone harder to use when it is laying on a surface. Personally, I really wouldn’t want it on the back for this reason and in terms of ergonomics. See the below schematic leak and render for a depiction.

Augmented Reality Cameras

Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked quite positively about Augmented Reality (AR) over the past months, leading credence to the rumors that the new iPhone will include AR of some kind. Along with recent hires and other research indicating Apple is working on AR, all signs point to yes. Even further, all the design leaks for the iPhone 8 have depicted vertically oriented dual-cameras, as opposed to horizontal as we have been used to. This is supposedly better for AR when the phone is turned to landscape.

Stay tuned in to Gaddgict for even more iPhone 8 rumors sure to be coming soon.